Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Filed under : Sports,Tennis
On August 20, 2006
At 11:05 pm
Comments : 18

It’s just a week away! Yes, I can hardly hold in my excitement. Has it reached up off the page and smacked you yet? No? Oh, it will. Yes, it’s my first annual, and perhaps only, Guide to Attending the US Open! I’ve been doing this for ages and frankly, so should you. Don’t like tennis? Go for the $20 hot dogs!

I decided to post this this week, though, so those not living in NY could have time to book their flights and for the rest of you locals to learn our first tip.

Tip #1
Go to the qualifying rounds! (I’m sorry, this post will just have a lot of exclamation points. I’ll try decaf tomorrow). If you’re good enough but not quite good enough, you can compete for 16 of the slots in the draw the week before the actual Open, ensuring you will be way too tired to actually compete. That is, if they don’t stick you on the main court on national TV against Federer the first day in which case you could have just come from a day-spa and it wouldn’t matter. But the best part of it is, it’s free. And there are plenty of names you’ve heard of even if you just follow tennis a little bit. But the best people to watch are the ones you’ve never heard of, because they want it more. And you can sit in the sparsely populated bleachers with their mom and their coach and make their day by telling them that their guy is awesome. The quallies go Tuesday through Friday of this week. Go! Go now!

Tip #2
Go sometime in the middle of the tournament. Say, from the first Tuesday through the second Tuesday. You’ll have a better choice of matches plus you can see your favorite player before he gets eliminated. I’m talking to you, Andy Roddick fans.

Tip #3
Once the actual tournament begins (8/28), know what to pack. First off, don’t bring a backpack. For some unfathomable reason, you can bring any bag except that. Your bag can be shaped like a bomb but so long as it can’t be carried on your back, you’re OK. Here’s what you should bring:

  • Water, as cold as possible. It’ll be $6 a bottle inside so get a head start with the first one. Spill a little out and freeze it the night before. Refill at the fountain and voila, cold water all day.
  • Food. Yes, you’ll buy some, but for the love of crikey, bring a snack or something and save another $6. I usually tote a sandwich of some kind in a coldpak.
  • Sunscreen. They used to keep some in the bathrooms. These days, it’ll run you another $20 and there are very few sheltered seats. While I’m on that topic, wear a hat if you don’t enjoy sunstroke.
  • Umbrella if there is rain in the forecast. The covered areas get mighty crowded and I personally don’t like touching you people. Instead, stay in your seat under your umbrella.

Tip #4
Don’t buy a draw sheet. Just print out the draws and court assignments that morning (or late the night before) from You need to work out your strategy beforehand anyway and then you can spend the $3 on a US Open keychain.

Tip #5
I cannot state this enough. During the day session DO NOT GO TO ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM. This is not well known but it’s called that because Artur Ashe up in heaven and you in the uppermost tier will have approximately the same view. Maybe if it’s Agassi’s last year (which it is) and he’s playing there (which he will be) you can make a small exception. But then get the hell out of there. There is no life in that place. Plus, the fact that the luxury boxes are actually below you and you can see the rich people sipping their drinks and chatting while you can pick out what airline name is painted on each jet that goes by is enough to make you communist.

Tip #6
Unless you find a match elsewhere you really want to see, start your day in Louis Armstrong stadium. If it’s all the same to you, you can sit nearly anywhere you want in comfortable seats and odds are you’ll see a good match. If it’s a blowout, or it seems like no one’s into it at all, try the Grandstand which is just next door and has the best atmosphere of any court.

Tip #7
Spend some time on the outer courts. If the seats weren’t so uncomfortable, you could really spend the whole day there, especially the first week. You couldn’t really be any closer to world-class tennis players unless you were the ball-kid. Check the scoreboards and look for a close match. If that doesn’t make your decision, pick a match with two guys from differing South American countries. Sit with a group of South Americans. By the end of the match, if you’re still alive, you’ll feel like you’re from Santiago. Or like you could kill anyone from Santiago. Other countries with rabid fans: Australia, Spain, and Thailand (bring thundersticks).

Other little known items:

1. If you are tired of waiting to get back into Armstrong between points (I once waited seven deuces in a Patty Schnyder/Meghann Shaughnessy match), walk behind the stadium, climb up the fire-escape type stairs, and enter at the top. Walk down to a seat.

2. The bathrooms behind the food court are not just for employees. There is never a wait. Enter near Court 12.

3. Should you enjoy looking down the tops of players’ girlfriends, try the bleacher seats at an outer court, such as 4, 7, or 11. Don’t ask me how I know this.

4. So hot you could die? The US Open Collection Store near Court 11 is exceedingly well air-conditioned.

Special items for tourists:

1. There are no saved seats on the subway. I was there first, lady, I don’t care if your handbag is there to save it for your husband who is too tentative entering the actual car.

2. Don’t dress as though you yourself might be playing tennis that day.

3. It’s never OK to shout, “Oh my God, it’s Donald Trump!” during points.

Well, that’s it. And I swear, this was not all just a ploy to get you to check out the extra tickets from my family’s plan that I’m selling on Craigslist. I will be gone several days next week for the actual extravaganza, but I haven’t yet decided whether I’ll just post bleary-eyed tennis-themed posts in the middle of the night or have a guest blogger. Feel free to weigh in.

Andy Williams – It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year


18 Comments for this post

Shark says

You do realize everyone’s going to be in the way now that you gave away all your little known tips, right?

Sarpon says

OK, you’ve almost talked me into booking a flight, even though I’m not into tennis, but I need to know: what kind of hot dogs?

Jane says

Is it okay to shout “OHMYGOD it’s Becca from the Magic Jewball!!!” during points?

Becca says

Shark, yes, my brother was much dismayed that I was going to post this. But it’s OK. I only have ten readers.

Sarpon, they have both kosher and non-kosher! What more could you want?

Jane, always. I’ll be wearing my “Kiss me, I’m Becca from Magic Jewball” t-shirt.

Jan says

Oh, I wish the US Open was in Boston or somehow connected to Boston. Dave would post this online for sure and you’d be even more famous than you are now.

Sarpon says

How do you manage this? Do you save up all your vacation for this event, or do you turn this time into a work-related activity by taking buyers with you and calling it business development?

Becca says

Jan, really? D’oh!

Sarpon, you may have noticed that I haven’t taken any vacation since starting this blog. In fact, the only vacation I’ve taken this entire year, aside from the Jewish holidays, has been a four day weekend in February to go to Spring Training. The problem is more what to do with all my extra days.

KP says

Excellent blogging Bec. Funny, informative, Andy Williams…it has it all! Just one question…..will Roger Federererer be there?

Jan says

Was that Staples back-to-school commercial with “The Most Wonderful Time” that ran a few years back a national commercial?

That was hilarious.

Becca says

KP, I’m glad someone appreciated Andy. And yes, you may notice his appearance in Tip #1 under his more commonly known name.

Jan, yes! I love that one – those glum kids make me teeheehee. And it’s actually the same time of year.

Alex says

“I’ll be wearing my “Kiss me, I’m Becca from Magic Jewball” t-shirt.”

Hey, I’ll wear mine, too! We can be TWINS!

twenchie says

This is about tennis right?

Becca says

They told me they only made one of that shirt! Bastids!

Er, no, Twenchie, curling. What made you think tennis?

RN says

It is the most wonderful time of the year.

The Sooners first home game is coming up fast!!!

Did I ever tell you we tailgate at the Jewish student union in Norman? I think that makes us almost related.

Becca says

I don’t know what the Sooners or Norman are but if you’re insane, we’re probably related.

Alex says

Honestly, who wouldn’t taligate at the Jewish Student Union in Norman, Oklahoma? Everywhere else is so crowded, and it’s so empty! ;-)

RN says

Becca, you have to ask?

Alex, it’s prime parking. Close to the stadium and they even let us in to use their restrooms. Such nice kids they are.

Becca, you really need to branch out.

Becky says

I cannot believe you managed to make something I care nothing about so interesting to read. I actually wish I had read this when you wrote it and tried to go out to the qualifing rounds. I’ll try anything for free…